Aneta Hryckiewicz is professor in Finance at Kozminski University. Her specialisation is in finance and banking.
She obtained her doctorate at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. After completing her PhD, she left for Wharton University in the United States. For many years she was a researcher and lecturer at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. She has done her habilitation at the Warsaw School of Economics.
Aneta is involved in the MaastrichtMBA programme as instructor at the Online MBA course on Corporate Finance.
I’ve been teaching finance course within the former EuroMBA Consortium already for more than 10 years. I’ve been offered to stay when Maastricht University has decided to take over the structures of the old EuroMBA programme. I am very happy to continue as I really like the spirit and energy of the students at this programme. Their diversity in terms of nationalities, experience, and professional background are extremely valuable, even for such course as finance. Their different views enrich the perspective of the course and make the entire experience more interesting.
I think there are a lot of things which I like in my job. First, it is freedom. The fact that I can work at different places, with many interesting people coming from different locations all over the world, and more important, t work on great projects and to follow my passion, is, in my opinion, the most valuable part of my job. If you do what you like and not because someone has told you to do it, you do not have a feeling that’s your job. Second, the possibility to meet extremely interesting and open-minded people is the second thing which I like in my profession. Attending different conferences, consultation debates or seminars give me a possibility to meet and talk to extremely interesting and passionate people. This motivates me to a continuous personal development. This moving forward also suits well to my character. Moreover, my profession gives me a (altruistic) feeling that I have an impact on the current world. Many of my scientific projects have raised debate among politicians or regulators influencing their decisions. Hence, I like this feeling that I can improve even a small part of the world at the benefit of society, so that we can live in a better and fairer world. Finally, I really like teaching, especially, the MBA students. I like their spirit, energy, their ambition… It is extremely self-motivating. At the same time, I like to observe the development of my students.
I am happy to support the EuroMBA Online students to get familiar with the finance concepts. Many of them do not have finance background, but are aware of the benefits the finance course can offer to them. Moreover, they are really interested in grasping finance theories, though it sometimes becomes a challenge. I fully understand their situation as this challenge is mostly associated with their current work, study and private life balance with the result of tiredness and time pressure. Therefore, my role is not only to teach them finance, but also to help them to overcome this challenge. I also try to encourage them to think outside the box about the finance. Therefore, I initiate some discussions among the students on the impact of virtual currency, effectiveness of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) transactions, corporate governance or compensation schemes. By the end of the day, the students should be aware of different factors affecting company’s valuation, even though he/she does not know how to do the valuation. I hope everyone can find something interesting for himself or herself.
I’ve tried to develop the course in a way that everyone can find something interesting for himself or herself. Of course, there are some traditional concepts like investment valuation or capital structure but also we talk about the capital raising through venture capital or valuation of the start-ups. My past experience has shown that MBA can be a changing point in the professional career of the students. In the past, several students stepped out of the corporate world after their MBA graduation and decided to launch their own start-ups. The finance course has allowed them to develop their financial business models as well as prepared them for capital raise. You cannot manage the company without understanding how different decisions influence its operation – independently, whether you work in HR or you produce sailboats.
During the course, students are familiarising with different concepts via variety of materials. They have access to the reading materials, application examples, exercises, videos and different cases. Every two weeks we also have webinars where we discuss the most important concepts and do some examples. Students also have a possibility to ask the questions and to raise their concerns in face-to-face meetings. Moreover, they can always reach me via e-mail or chat. I also offer skype sessions for those students who are struggling the most with the material.
I think that corona has shown that the concept of risk in the valuation models should be considered more seriously. Corporations should consider not only the pessimistic and/or optimistic scenarios in their models but also the impact of the extreme events to be prepared for such cases. Moreover, we will be living in an extremely uncertain times in the next years after the pandemic. Investors will be pricing this uncertainty more than before. This will bring us to the new concepts of risk, risk valuation and valuation models in these times of uncertainty.
I think there are several issues which pandemic has taught us. First of all, this pandemic has brought the corporate finance to its roots. It has demonstrated how important are the companies’ fundamentals to survive the turbulences. Only companies with the resilient fundamentals, bringing the long-term value to the shareholders will be able to survive and recover from the crisis quickly. However, all others will be trying to capture the lifebelt to survive on the surface. Consequently, it might take a long time before they recover, if they will be able to restore its value at all.
Secondly, pandemic has also demonstrated the inefficiency of many corporations. Too high fixed costs, over-employment, operational inefficiency have brought financial results of many companies extremely down. Thus, I find the automatisation and digitalisation process currently happening in many companies as a right direction to reduce highly burdening fixed-costs to eliminate this kind of operational risk.
Finally, the pandemic has also documented how dangerous leverage might be. In fact, low interest rates are very pernicious as they encourage indebtedness and overleveraging. The pandemic has brought a difficult lesson showing that when the cash flows disappear, the debt remains and has to be paid back. Thus, companies with excessive leverage have demonstrated much higher bankruptcy risk. The pandemic might redefine companies’ optimal capital structure towards more optimal leverage.
I am very proud to be able to share my knowledge with the professionals. Before my academic career, I had a chance to work in the investment banking. I’ve always been passionate with corporate finance world, especially with the valuation models. My academic interest and teaching experience have also oscillated about these topics. I am very happy to observe how others can profit from my knowledge and experience. It is extremely self-motivating.
I would like to give one advice to my students during these turbulent times: never give up. This is the motto which I follow and try to bring to others.